Last week, in the midst of all the flooding here in southeast Missouri, I was fortunate enough to be able to get away to the desert for a few days and attend the PRSA Western District Conference. One of the sessions gave us an inside look into some of Las Vegas’ newsrooms through its panel: Emily Neilson, president/GM for 8 News NOW, Ken Ritter, staff writer for the Associated Press, and Bruce Spotleson, group publisher for Greenspun Media Group.
It wasn’t surprising to hear Spotleson state that journalists are multi-tasking these days, often reporting, blogging, producing video/audio, interacting on social media, and more. Ritter stated, in the AP newsroom, he’s also doing “news triage” – which results in his attention span being 30 seconds or 140 characters. One point he made, that every public relations person should heed, was, “If you receive a call from us, pay attention! This probably means the story is ready to go out on the wire and we need comment/confirmation – but it’s going with or without you!”
Neilson talked about online and mobile being the “wild wild west” of reporting and how “i-reporters” have iPhone video posted before a traditional journalist can even get to the scene. So, it’s increasingly important for journalists to not only report news, but engage the public and rely on them more and more.
Neilson made a point of saying they [8 News Now] are NOT a “TV station” anymore but rather they are a local news organization that is platform agnostic.
She explains, that The Media must report the way consumers want, which entails speed, speed, speed, and then get depth of story out. Giving up control and unbundling of news services is, in her opinion, the most critical issue facing journalism right now. The value of eyeballs is very different now than ever before – they’re trading analog dollars for digital dimes.
When asked what piece of advice she could give those of us in PR and media relations, she offered: “Do NOT write press releases for your client, instead write it for your neighbor – what would they want to know?”
I hadn’t quite heard it put that way before and think that’s great advice. Do you agree? What would you add? Please leave a comment below on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.